Sunday, October 17, 2010

Bye, My Silly, Funny Boris Gump.

I'd been ignoring/overlooking/excusing/in denial about Boris for many weeks now. The reality is he never really "got better" after his hospital stay in June. Oh, he ate with gusto and some days seemed much like his old self, but never gained any weight, and other days he was obviously an old cat who just wanted to sleep. His kidneys continued to fail. And now I'm looking back and seeing a lot of issues I blithely ignored, because I couldn't face dealing with them. Like his new habit of peeing in madly inappropriate places. Like odd behaviors that were like he was in a sort of second kittenhood - suddenly I couldn't turn my back or he'd be eating uncovered leftovers in the kitchen. And yet more peeing in the house, and the constipation came back, and when he was weighed today, yes, he'd lost even more weight, and that's even with the ounces impacted in his poor old colon. But still he purred.

This weekend I could see he was feeling awful - I half-joked that the day he didn't start demanding dinner at 3 in the afternoon I'd know he was at the end. Yesterday he huddled on the couch and didn't move until everybody else asked for dinner much later. He did eat, though, and looked perkier after. He'd started sleeping in bed with the family again, and though he looked weak as hell and didn't spend much time on his feet, I could still see the old Boris in there.

This morning I woke up and staggered to the kitchen in the dark, and sniffed - I smelled the faint odor of his kidney failure pee. Kidney failure pee is not like normal cat pee, and very, very watery and nearly odorless, but it has a faint smell. I got my first cup of coffee and started looking for a puddle - checked the floors, the corners - nothing. Drank my first cup of coffee in the living room and returned to the kitchen for a refill. Still smelling that faint pee smell....started looking further.

My kitchen countertop is very shiny granite. That's why I didn't see the thin sheen of liquid until I touched it.

A line had been crossed here. I excused and cleaned up a lot of stuff in the last few weeks, but a lake of watery pee on my kitchen counter finally forced me to LOOK at the condition of this cat. I spent a good long time cleaning my kitchen with antibacterial cleaners, and sat for a while, feeling so damn depressed. Then I called the vet, which blessedly has Sunday afternoon hours. They were all booked up, but told me to bring him in anyway. They know us there.

The vet was so kind - she took her time with both of us, petting him, discussing his condition, but ultimately it was my call to make. And I sat in that room for over an hour, petting him and telling him to for God's Sake Quit PURRING at Me!

He was nearly 15 years old. He was in kidney failure. It was not going to improve. He had a second attack of a severely impacted colon, which requires sedation and enemas to clean out, and could recur again in two weeks even if we did. His weight continued to drop, and he was now less than half his healthy, robust adult weight, and was basically a skeleton in mangy gray fur. Treating him wasn't working, and would just be a crapshoot of testing to see if he could be improved, but nothing was going to reverse those failing kidneys.

So I signed the paper, they gave him the first shot and left me with him to say goodbye, and I sat with him and petted him until he was in oblivion.

My silly, funny Boris is reunited with his smart, sassy sister Natasha. She'll look after him again, just as she always did.

18 comments:

Anonymous said...

It's hard even when you know it's the right time. RIP, Boris.
Kimmen

Teresa said...

I'm so sorry, Catherine. Even when you know it's the right thing to do, it's so hard. Take comfort in knowing that he's well and healthy now, and with his sister over the Rainbow Bridge.

Teresa

k said...

How are the other creatures doing? They always know.
I don't know if I would have the strength to sit in that room.

Anonymous said...

I've got something in my eye again. {{Hugs}} to all (because I'm sure the other kids are wondering what's up).

Janet

Catherine said...

The dogs don't seem to notice, and the other cat Higgins is fine. I suspect the animals knew before I accepted it myself, and aren't surprised.

besshaile said...

Farewell sweet Boris.

KatyaR said...

Oh, Catherine, I'm so sorry . It's so hard to let go, even when they're so sick.

Give the furbabies a scritch for me and Basie, and give yourself a huge hug....

Anonymous said...

I am so sorry. It is always so hard.

Restless Knitter said...

I'm sorry to hear. It's never easy when we lose a pet.

Amy in StL said...

I'm so sorry. Reading about you sitting with him and petting him reminded me of sitting in the vet's office petting my elderly sheltie until my mom told me I had to let them give him the shot or we should go home. Its hard. But you did the right thing by letting him go.

Joan said...

So sorry, it's always difficult to say goodbye. But it was time. The move would have made him so unhappy...

Thinking of you

Catherine said...

Amy, I was like that - part of me wanted to take him home and put this off a while longer, but then I realized the futility of that, and just went through with it. I was concerned about Higgins and have been talking to him and giving him extra love, but as I said, I think he knew his roomie was very sick.

Anonymous said...

Oh, I am so sorry. even knowing it is the best thing and that Boris will no longer be uncomfortable it is so very hard to say good-bye. I read somewhere that cats will purr not only when happy, but also when in pain or stressed-- it helps them calm themselves... so yes, maybe Boris was ready to go.
Hugs to you and the rest of your menagerie.
Elizabeth

Evelyn said...

My condolences to you. I put my kitty, Octavia down on Saturday. Her bad days were outnumbering her good days but her personality and my memories made it a hard decision.
Thinking of you and the rest of your household as you prepare for your move.
Evelyn

KatyaR said...

Catherine, the NYT did an article on Ashville today--

http://travel.nytimes.com/2010/10/24/travel/24hours.html

Catherine said...

Oh, what a nice article! It missed some of my favorite places (less expensive and more local-oriented than their selection) but it did get the flavor of the area perfectly! Thanks for sharing that!

KatyaR said...

I'm very jealous--it sounds like a wonderful place!

zippiknits said...

May little Boris find lots of atral mice to catch, and paper balls to chase, and no more fur balls to chuck up.

I hope the wedding day dawns glorious, and bright, and is full of sweet, sweet memories.

May that moving van arrive on time that following week or so. Enjoy your relatively quiet December days!